Greetings Citizens of The Printerverse and welcome global print and marketing professionals to a New Year for the printing industry.
2024 already feels like it rolled up in a muscle car, rolled down the window, pointed at us with a baseball bat, and said, “I heard you’ve been talking crap about me.”
It’s down to -70 degrees (-56.7 Celsius) this weekend in some areas of the United States. There is a palpable anxiety regarding the 2024 elections, a divided view of reality, Florida has just banned the dictionary so no one can look up the words associated with the books they are banning in Florida, and more.
The rest of the world is in a similar state to an equal or lesser degree, or worse. Active wars and crimes against humanity, devastating weather events, a new fissure in the planet creating a lava flow in Grindavik, Iceland, and more.
This is the global backdrop causing stress and uncertainty across the Printerverse, and it’s only the second week in January.
While some of that may have no consequence or factor in business, marketing, and sales decision-making, a lot of it will be. The bigger the company, the bigger the factor. Businesses with global clients, clients in or close to war zones, and clients in areas that are flooded and/or frozen – big factors.
This is the 11th edition of the CMYK Manifesto to set the mission for print businesses and the printing industry.
It was important to start by establishing the myriad of factors beyond our control that will affect the overall success in 2024. However, keeping these factors in mind and staying focused on serving evolving print customer needs and emergencies as they arise could help you end 2024 in better shape than you entered it.
THE MISSION FOR 2024: REWIND, REIGNITE, REPRESENT
Taking anything for granted in 2024 is a dangerous path. Call your customers, whether they ordered 2 jobs in 2023 or 200. Reestablish your relationship. Let them know from you – not through an email, newsletter, social post, or postcard – about anything/everything new.
Equipment isn’t the only thing to discuss. So many print businesses have invested in workflow over the past few years. If you have optimized, upgraded, or revamped your internal processes explain the specific workflow benefit that helps that customer, for each customer you speak with.
Don’t generalize. Be declarative… We made a significant investment in our internal workflow process to help you get your work completed faster, allow you to create a portal and store your files and assets, allow you to order items online to save money, design your files on our site, get instant quotes… and so on.
Reestablishing your customer relationships isn’t a one-way street. Your customers may have new needs they aren’t talking to you about. They may be more focused on reaching new clients, or more focused on retaining and maintaining current ones. They may want to enter a new vertical for new business development. They may even have questions about products and services you don’t offer.
Make 2024 the year you rewind, reestablish, and strengthen your customer relationships, serve their evolving needs, and elevate yourself to a collaborative consultant in the process.
Reestablish your mind share with print customers by showing them why they work with you – literally.
Create a creative and colorful sample kit that includes relevant samples for each customer based on the work they do with you, a mini swatch book you create that shows a few examples of the most common text weight and cover weight paper, different finishes and specialty effects, die-cutting and finishing capabilities.
Include printed press releases, testimonials, positive news, and social posts about your company. Include information about awards you have won over the past 3 years, and opportunities to partner for print, design, marketing, paper, and printing industry awards in 2024.
Include something personal, created and printed specifically for the recipient based on their interests – and keep it under $20 to avoid issues with agency and corporate print buyers.
Make 2024 the year you reignite customer passion for the creativity and viability of print as a sales, marketing, and communication channel, and reignite the passion for partnering with your business in the process.
I’m a devoted fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Season 16 of the US series recently started, and last week the guest judge was Becky G. I had no clue who she was beyond a 20-something woman who has enough influence in pop culture to land a seat at the judge’s table. Charlize Theron occupied it the week before.
I looked her up and she is described as an “American singer and actress” who isn’t related to Selena Gomez despite sharing a last name.
Becky G inspired this leg of our 2024 mission: REPRESENT
The contestants on Drag Race had some one-on-one time with Becky and asked her what she was looking for, from them, from a judge’s perspective to stand out from the crowd. Guess what… better price, quality, and service didn’t come up.
Standing out to Becky G wasn’t about having the biggest wig or highest heels in the competition. She wanted the contestants to represent who they were, and that’s what she was looking for. Authenticity.
Becky G will be 27 in March. She wasn’t interested in pitting Queen against Queen in her assessment. She looked at each contestant as an individual. Were they presenting themselves authentically within the runway theme? Or were they presenting what they thought the judges wanted, abandoning authenticity in the process?
Make 2024 the year your customers, especially the younger ones, understand who you are and how you can help them, authentically.
Claims of being everything for everyone (best quality, price, service) aren’t trending – even if they are true. Print customers want you to be everything for THEM and their needs. Your job is to communicate how you can authentically manifest that help.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
drupa is back! From May 28 to June 7, 2024, Düsseldorf transforms into drupacity and welcomes the world of print to Germany. 18 halls of equipment, products, and services, daily education and inspiration in the forums, global networking and discussions about the future of print at drupa DNA (drupa Next Age) in Hall 7 which I’m hosting with Frank Tueckmantel, and 11 days to experience all of it.
drupa is an enormous factor for 2024. This is where the industry meets, exhibitors introduce new products and discuss their vision of the future of the printing industry.
drupa is one-stop knowledge gathering for attendees. Discover new technology, establish a new partnership, strengthen your relationships with your current partners, and keep on the lookout for cool things to share across your social channels while you walk this massive show.
RAISE YOUR GLASS…
Unprecedented may end up being 2024’s word of the year. While we still have time for that, focus on what is precedent, rewind, reignite, and represent to make this year a success, no matter how you measure it.
“May the best days of 2023, be the worst of 2024.”
PRINT LONG AND PROSPER!
See Deborah’s featured post: 2023 – A Year of Highs, Lows, and Costly In-Betweens for the Print Industry
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to the Printerverse at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist, international industry speaker and blogger, and the cultivator of Print Production Professionals, the #1 print group on LinkedIn. She provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through education, events, Podcasts From The Printerverse, ProjectPeacock.TV, and an array of community-lifting initiatives including Girls Who Print and International Print Day,
Deborah also helps companies create more meaningful and profitable customer relationships by utilizing more than 25 years of experience as an agency, brand, and corporate print buyer who has assessed, hired and worked with a plethora of printers and service providers.
ProjectPeacock.TV is streaming PRINTSPIRATION to brands, agencies, students, and printers!
Please subscribe to PMC’s News from The Printerverse for topical posts and information delivered to your inbox.